The National Policy Health and Safety Committee (NPHSC) met on June 7, 2017 in Toronto to review policies, procedures, practices, and training related to the health and safety of CBC employees across the country. Along with attendees from the other unions at CBC and from management, Canadian Media Guild (CMG) representatives Natalie Clancy, Wil Fundal and Andrew Shipley, and Staff Representative Olivier Desharnais-Roy took part in the meeting. The other unions involved are Syndicat des Communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC), Association des réalisateurs (AR) and Association of Professionals and Supervisors (APS).
We had 23 items on the agenda, including training, the selection of local health and safety representatives, prevention of workplace violence, psychological health including PTSD, and reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Health and Safety Training
The CBC offers training to help employees do their work safely. Many training modules are mandatory, including Computer Workstation Ergonomics, Emergency Awareness and Preparedness, How to use fire extinguishers, and Prevention of Workplace Violence. Unfortunately, the completion rate is low (except for employees working in Transmission). Other training modules are available for specific circumstances, and target groups will be receiving communication soon to complete the modules.
We would like to remind you that these training modules should be taken during employee shifts, not on personal time.
Health and Safety Representation The Committee noted that many locations don’t have a health and safety (H&S) representative or committee. Since this is a requirement under the Canada Labour Code, the CBC will review the list of H&S representatives for all locations and make sure those without proper H&S representation act quickly to fix this problem.
Here are the criteria:
For locations with 20 employees or more (headcount includes on-site managers), a local Health and Safety Committee with four members – two appointed by management and the other two by the union – shall meet on a quarterly basis (or more frequently). If your location has fewer than 20 employees (including on-site managers), a health and safety representative shall be appointed by the union. Training is provided by the CBC. For more information, contact Olivier at email@example.com.
Prevention of Workplace Violence
The Committee reviewed the Violence in the Workplace policy and related guidelines. The CBC updated the policy and guidelines after union representatives requested that the policy be reviewed, and shared comments with the CBC. The Guild’s representatives still feel the policy could go further to cover psychological harm. More comments on the policy and guidelines are welcome. The updated version will likely be approved at the next NPHSC meeting in September 2017.
Psychological health and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
The Committee went over work from a recent conference call to discuss CMG’s request that the CBC implement a hazard prevention program to protect against work-related PTSD. CMG has researched similar programs at the BBC and in the federal government, and recommended that the program include the following:
-Resiliency training added to all hostile environment training
-Mandatory check in with teams deployed to cover traumatic events
-Improved access to Trauma counseling/ debrief
-Downtime post deployment when needed
-Training and communications for all employees and managers
The unions and management agreed to continue working on this issue and to send a joint communique once ready.
Tracking occupational injuries and illnesses
At its March 2017 meeting, the Committee reviewed the 2016 statistics for work-related illnesses and injuries. CMG representatives raised questions about the reliability of the statistics. Specifically, the statistics showed low prevalence for particular injuries and illnesses, such as psychological and musculoskeletal injuries/illnesses.
The CBC explained that employees may choose to refer their case and related injuries/illnesses to Disability Management, which may grant short-term disability or long-term disability (STD/LTD) benefits, rather than report the injury/illness as occupational and receive worker’s compensation.
Because most employees choose the Disability Management route, the CBC cannot properly track all work-related injuries or illnesses, and therefore, cannot identify hazards and risks in the workplace, and improve safety and security for employees.
Also, this approach increases STD/LTD costs for the CBC and CMG members, when these costs should be covered by provincial worker’s compensation boards. CMG representative consider this a very serious issue and they are working with the CBC to improve tracking.
CMG’s representatives on the National Health and Safety Committee: Natalie Clancy
Olivier Desharnais-Roy, Staff Representative